Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP has launched a consultation on delivering fairer Disability Assistance benefits.
The new consultation asks for input to ensure the Scottish approach to Disability Assistance will meet the needs of the children and adults it is intended to help. It will build upon work already undertaken to listen to people with lived experience of disability benefits about how the system can meet their needs.
From April 2020 the SNP Government will take full responsibility for all remaining devolved benefits, with replacement disability benefits to start their introduction from summer 2020. Contrary to misinformation spread by Conservative MSP Michelle Ballantyne, this includes Severe Disablement Payment Allowance.
Ms Somerville said:
“In Parliament last week I made clear that, having successfully delivered the first devolved benefits for carers and low income families, my next priority is to deliver payments for disabled people. This will begin with disability assistance for children and young people next summer. This will be followed by our benefit for older people, and then by our replacement for the DWP’s Personal Independence Payment from early 2021.
“I am determined to ensure the system we build is a better, fairer one than the one it will replace. I have heard many moving stories from people frustrated with the current system. We will not replicate a process that causes stress and anxiety. We want to ensure people trust Scotland’s social security system and that it works for people not against them.
“That means fewer face to face assessments, rolling awards with no set end points and those with fluctuating health conditions will not face additional reviews due to regular changes in needs related to their condition. If face to face assessments are necessary, they will be at a time and location that suits the person and carried out by qualified assessors. We will also move the burden of collecting information from the client to Social Security Scotland.
“In addition, by end of next year we will also start delivery of a new payment of Winter Heating Assistance to children who receive the highest care component of Disability Assistance and a new payment for carers of more than one disabled child.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Any child or adult living in North Ayrshire and the rest of Scotland who is currently receiving Disability Living Allowance for children, Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance from DWP, will be affected by the approach set out in the consultation document. Those who meet the eligibility criteria may also be affected.
“I therefore urge anyone who may benefit from this to take part in the consultation, which runs until 28 May and can be accessed here.”